Recent Grad Wins Civil Rights Fellowship
May 24, 2016
Karissa Tom BA ’16 (Sociology/Anthropology) is the first Lewis & Clark alumnus to secure a John Lewis Fellowship through the international nonprofit organization Humanity in Action. The fellowship will bring 30 students and recent graduates selected from Europe and the United States to study civil rights, immigration, and racial justice in Atlanta this summer.
“We’ll all be coming into the program with vastly different life experiences and perspectives on what positive change towards an equitable world looks like and how to achieve it,” says Tom. “I can’t wait to engage in those conversations.”
Tom, a recipient of a 2016 Ray Warren Leadership Award from the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement (IME), has always cared about helping others and giving back to the community. But, Tom says, “It wasn’t until coming to college and learning how to articulate what I was seeing and feeling around me that I began to really engage with the complicated nature of what social justice advocacy means and how I wanted to go about changing the system for myself and for those around me.”
The fellowship, which honors civil-rights icon U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA), will engage students in daily lectures and discussions with renowned academics, journalists, politicians, and activists, as well as site visits to nonprofit and community organizations, museums, and memorials. Since 1999, Humanity in Action has engaged more than 1,500 fellows in its transatlantic study programs focusing on human rights and minority issues—past and present—in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United States.